Monday, 14 February 2011

Electronics kit fun ... ...

It's been a while since I posted, and seeing as I haven't as yet finished some of the projects I have on the go I thought I'd post about the electronics kit we got for our son to mess around with (and hopefully learn from)

I can remember playing with these types of kit when I went to school, but they have come along way since then, much more interactive and fun, which I guess is the main thing, if it's fun kids generally get into it more.

Here is the kit we got -

Hours of fun & learning.
So I guess this is kind of a review for the kit, which comes from Maplins ---> Amazing all in 1 connect & learn. it costs £16.99 (it was on offer when we bought it)

All in all for the price I think it's a great introduction into how electricity works, it has various things to do, from simple circuits, like making an led light with a battery, including a switch to control the light and some more advanced stuff like a motorised basket ball game, and there are options for making the basic experiments more interesting, one of which we tried when we got the kit out the other day.

Although it says 8+ on the box my six year old son soon got to grips with it, and don't worry if you aren't the most technical person around, it's easy for adults too ;-)

Here is a picture of my son and daughter playing with one of the experiments -

We added a bell to this one.
Another picture of the experiment -

Some of the wiring looks a little messy, I kind of rushed it :-)
This was an extension of the basket ball game, the hoop is connected to a motor which makes it move from side to side, to make it more difficult, there is also a little ball and a small plastic launcher for it, the circuit for this experiment is pretty simple to put together, and as an after thought I added the bell, and thanks to the little micro switch that's in the red tray that catches the ball we were able to make the bell sound every a basket was scored, there are other things you can add to it as well.

The basket ball game - 

With ball launcher.

The instructions are easy to follow, with step by step how to's, and they cover pretty much all of the things this kit can do. One of the other experiments we tried was the bubble blower, this actually does three different things by way of various attachments, it has two nozzles that you can either use to blow bubbles with or make a small polystyrene ball hover (this one got a good reaction) it also acts like a hoover, and the third attachment is a little hose and filter, so you can teach them about circuits and also how a hoover works.

The instructions - 

Parts list, and step by step instructions.
You can see that each experiment has a parts list, and if there are any things that need putting together it will also show you how to do that, it gives easy to follow instructions on how it should be wired up, and things you can try after it's working.

Things to try with the bubble blower - 

Further experiments.
Here are some pictures of some more wiring diagrams, ranging from the easiest to more complex ones.

They are easy to follow.

These diagrams show how you can expand the basic experiments.
You can't really go wrong with this kit, as long as you follow the diagrams you should be fine, most of the parts are encased in clear plastic, like the battery boxes,switches and led's.

Pictures of some of the parts - 


Each experiment uses 1 or 2 batteries.
All the components connect to white / light grey plastic boards by way of pegs on the undersides, this means it's easy to get everything lined up, and it's secure so that things don't rattle apart, all electrical connections are made using springs, which also fit securely into the boards, the springs are quite small so not ideal for really small children.

The spring connectors - 

You can see how they fit into the board.

Making connections easy.
If you want to have some fun with electronics this is a good starting place, it has plenty to do, and you can expand on some of the experiments to add extra interest, for example there is a flapping duck experiment, you could connect this to the maze challenge, so that if you touch the wire the duck flaps, or you could use a bell instead, or you could us both, and like we did with the basket ball game you can add what you want, why not connect the duck and every time some one scores a basket it will flap like mad, it is also possible to connect everything up at once, although this may get a little hectic.

It's a great kit for mum or dad to teach the small ones a little bit about electricity and most of all it's fun as well as informative.

Thanks for reading.

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